Record-Keeping and Software Applications
As products like SharePoint Online increase in popularity, a new problem arises that very few people are actually aware of. It stems from the simple fact that software evolution means that file versions change usually very rapidly and will certainly over time. Time is what record-keeping is all about.
A basic premise that needs to be maintained when records are kept in an electronic form or digitally is that there must always be an software application that can open and display the documents that are currently archived. This was not a problem in the days of pen and paper, because people could simply reach into the archive box and pull out the required documents and hey-presto, there they are.
Times have changed, people have changed and in our case, technology has also changed. Legislation and laws (governments) determines how long a particular piece of information needs to be retained for. In some cases, it may be permanent, that is, it will need to be kept forever. This in and of itself, creates many issues. Let's take a look at those issues, as they apply specifically to a digital world:
Files consume disk space, which costs money to maintain.
Disks don't last forever, and are subject to what's known as bit-rot, which is where random magnetic bits that are used to store the information on magnetic media, flip and change. This causes corruption in the files.
To view and read the files, in some cases special software is needed. Imagine if you had archived all those old Word Perfect, Multimate and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets away 40 years ago. In a permanent retention schedule, you would also need to ensure that those files could be opened and examined. Simply storing them away, would not be enough nor would it be compliant.
Most of us, in business, don't just deal with one or two files or even one or two file types, we all deal with tens or even hundreds of different file types. There are file types that we may not even know that we are dealing with as the programs that we use, create and delete files all over the place.
However, when laws and legislation insist that you commit a document to a record for safe keeping, you need to consider the software application that was used to create that (now) record. You need to ensure that the required software is available to ensure the longevity of that record, according to law.
It is important to regularly review the content of the records that you are keeping, destroying those documents that are no longer required, and preserving those that are. Which makes sense, as this will save you money in disk space and reviewing content etc. so human time and wages also.
If you save your files in say, a SharePoint Record Center, either online or on-premises, you will immediately benefit from the Captisium Universal File Handler, as you will be able to open those old archived files using the software application that they were created with, because you would have also saved that software program as part of your retention schedule and compliance effort.
Discover more about Captisium Universal File Handler and the benefits of making your files easily accessible to your staff.